Month: December 2009

Tropic Thunder (2006)

Comedy Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Black Director: Ben Stiller Rookie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) quickly loses control of his high budget Vietnam War film.  In five days the film is declared a month behind schedule.  The prima donna actors starring in the film, Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.), Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black), Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) and not-so-prima donna Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), make demands that Cockburn cannot handle.  The studio executive Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) comes down hard on Cockburn and Cockburn fears the worst. John “Four Leaf” Tayback (Nick Nolte) wrote the novel the film is based on and is on the set as an adviser.  Tayback convinces Cockburn that the only way he’s going to get anything out of this group of actors is to expose them to the reality of war.  So Cockburn decides to film the movie in what he calls guerilla style by dropping them into the jungle and letting them fend for themselves.  However, what appeared to be a very clever plan goes very wrong for everyone. Tropic Thunder throws together an ensemble of very popular actors.  This isn’t always a guarantee of a good film or a hit as is often the reason such efforts are made.  However, it actually works quite well for this film.  Although I don’t hate Ben Stiller...

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District B-13 (2004): French is Not Always Bad

District B-13 is a massively awesome French action flick. I personally never liked French films from their dreary sequences, but legendary director Pierre Morel directed this film, based on the art of Parkour, which was created by David Belle, the star of this film. In the year 2010, a man’s sister is kidnapped, he and a cop must find the drug lord that has her, along with a deadly nuclear missle. District B-13 has been walled off, like other districts in France. The film follows them in a very intense, action-packed view, letting all of the stunts show from the actors’ hard work. This film’s best aspect was the great action and stunts, all performed by the actors. Another good aspect was the respectable acting from David Belle, who was only in commercials and miraculous home videos until then. This is a “buy” film, because even now, I want to see it...

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The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Probably one of my favourite movies!  Why?  Because it stars the legendary Meryl Streep. What else makes this one a ‘must see’? The rest of the cast – Anne Hathaway (a charming actress with oodles of potential), Emily Blunt (watch out for this British actress!) and Stanley Tucci (a performance of note!). I simply loved the opening of the movie – shoes, shoes and more shoes.  Andrea (Hathaway) is eager to start her career in publishing and gets a job interview at Runway magazine.  To the amazement of the Chief Editor’s Assistant, Emily (Blunt) and Nigel (Tucci), Andrea gets the job as 2nd Assistant!  She doesn’t fit in but Chief Editor, Miranda Priestly (Streep) decides to take a chance with the ‘smart fat girl’.  Andrea is constantly reminded that ‘a million girls would kill for this job’ but for her it’s simply a stepping stone to her career in journalism.  Andrea soon realises that she’s working for an unreasonable, hard and demanding woman.  Come on, who can ‘find me that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday morning’!  Miranda Priestley listens to no-one and she always has the last word, mostly in the form of ‘that’s all’!  It’s delightful to watch Andrea turn from ugly duckling to swan with the help of Nigel and a little Chanel. Throughout the movie we see Andrea faced with challenges – obtaining the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript, getting Miranda on a flight...

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Avatar (2009)

From the man who brought us such blockbusters as: The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, & Titanic comes another epic from director James Cameron, the 2009 science fiction film Avatar.  It stars Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver & Stephen Lang.  The film takes place in the year 2154 on a fictional moon called Polyphemus.  As they are studying the planet of Pandora, the military decides to perform an experiment with a paraplegic former marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington).  The experiment is; he locks himself into a capsule where he can have his soul transferred into another body in order to become a member of the Na’vi called Avatars in order to learn about their culture.  By using the body, it also allows Jake to walk, something he can’t do as a human.  The Na’vi species are stronger & taller than humans, blue-skinned, have feline characteristics, & live in an environment in which humans cannot breathe.  As he is learning about their culture, he falls in love with Neytiri (Zoë Saldaña), a female Na’vi.  Meanwhile, as the military wants to destroy the tribe, Jake wants to save it. One aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was simply remarkable was the computer-generated imagery or CGI.  Some of the images they used were nothing short of extraordinary.  For example, after Jake meets Neytiri, he follows her, they...

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Invictus

Clint Eastwood is at it again! This time the director brings us a biographical film about former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela titled Invictus. The film is set in mid-90’s South Africa and stars Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby) as Mandela and Matt Damon (The Bourne Series, Good Will Hunting) as Francois Pienaar, the captain of the South African Rugby team. The film is based on a book entitled Playing The Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed A Nation. The film begins when Nelson Mandela (Freeman) is released from prison in 1990, where he spent twenty-seven years of his life. Immediately following his release from prison, he started working to bring democracy to South Africa and creating elections in which the black community could participate in. In 1994, just four years after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela was elected as President of South Africa. Despite all of his efforts though there is still a lot of racial tension in the country. You can see the evidence of that in Mandela’s security team alone, a team that consists of black and white members that have trouble getting along. While attending a Springboks, the South African Rugby team, game Mandela notices that all of the white people in the crowd were cheering for the South African team and all of the black people were...

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